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SQ College Football Top-25 Power Rankings: Week 13

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for rivalry week! Find out where everyone stacks up before more chaos ensues in the final week of the regular season.

Week 12 is usually reserved for games in which top-25 teams schedule a cupcake team or inferior opponent as a way to rest up for their rivalry game in the following week. That was certainly the case this past weekend as most of the matchups for the top-25 resulted in double-digit victories. However, a couple of top-10 teams found themselves struggling to come out with a win. Did those games affect our rankings? Find out below.

25. Boise State

Previous Rank: Not Ranked 

“Boise does it with balance. The Broncos aren’t great at anything, but they are solid at just about everything. They rank 37th and 34th in offensive and defensive S&P+, respectively, and 28th and 39th in scoring offense and scoring defense, respectively. That is certainly strong enough to win what is ultimately a weaker Mountain West this season.” - Ryan Neu

24. Northwestern 

Previous Rank: Not Ranked


“After an extremely shaky start to the year, Northwestern has won six in a row and has turned itself into a surprisingly strong team. Or has it? The Wildcats rank 30th in defensive S&P+, 82nd offensive S&P+, and 49th in S&P+ overall. Perhaps Northwestern’s recent win streak is more a product of the competition it has faced: Maryland (bad at football), Iowa (overrated), Michigan State (overrated), Nebraska (bad at football), Purdue (mediocre), and Minnesota (bad at football). The Wildcats are feisty and play respectable defense, but they are horrid on offense and also got blown out by a mediocre Duke team earlier in the year. Gambling advice: bet against them in their bowl game.” - Ryan Neu

23. Virginia Tech 

Previous Rank: 25

“Remember when Virginia Tech looked like one of the stronger teams in the country? The Hokies lost two in a row and, just this past week, only beat a bad Pittsburgh team by six points at home. The offense has fallen off of a cliff. In its last four games, Virginia Tech hasn’t scored more than 24 points in a game and is averaging just 19.0 points per game. The Hokies offense now ranks 92nd (92nd!) in S&P+. The defense is strong; they rank 13th in defense S&P+ and sixth in scoring defense. Virginia Tech takes on rival Virginia on the road this weekend, which is vastly improved from recent years. Put the Hokies officially on upset alert.” - Ryan Neu

22. USF

Previous Rank: 24

“Despite the loss to Houston a few weeks ago, South Florida is still in position to win the American East division. All the Bulls have to do is defeat the highest scoring offense in the nation in undefeated UCF, which is no easy task. For the Bulls to keep up with the Knight’s scoring offense, dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers will have to be at his best. Flowers is one of the best talents in the conference, as he is among the top six in both passing yards and rushing yards in the American conference.” - Colton Spaur

21. Michigan State 

Previous Rank: 23


“Usually when you only complete two passes throughout the entirety of a game, the odds are probably not in your favor. However, in Michigan State’s case, the Spartans only amassed 20 passing yards and still came out on top. The victory, of course, is in large part to the big day that saw LJ Scott rush for a total of 147 yards and one touchdown. Scott also had four rushes that went 10 yards or more. It was good old fashioned Big Ten football with the game being played in the snow and the game being won on the ground.” - Sean Berger

20. LSU

Previous Rank: 21

“If the Tigers had a legitimate passing game they’d probably be close to a top-10 team. Although the strength of this offense is Derrius Guice and the running game, a competent passing game would make LSU an actual contender in the SEC West. Even against an awful Tennessee team, LSU only totaled 81 passing yards over 11 completions. Guice eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark this past weekend, making it the second straight season in which he has achieved that milestone.” - Sean Berger

19. Stanford 

Previous Rank: 18

“Bryce Love once again led the way for the Cardinal, rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown despite a nagging ankle injury. Love missed most of the fourth quarter, but Stanford hung on to beat Cal 17-14 to keep their Pac-12 title hopes alive. With Love injured and non-conference opponent Notre Dame coming to town, Stanford should consider benching Love and letting his ankle rest. Stanford’s hopes of reaching the Pac-12 championship game lie in the hands of Washington-Washington State, as this week’s game against the Fighting Irish doesn’t mean much for the Cardinal. Resting Love will allow him to be healthier for a potential conference title game or Stanford’s bowl game.” - Colton Spaur

18. Memphis 

Previous Rank: 20

“Memphis dropped 66 points on Saturday, locking up the AAC West division with a 66-45 win over SMU. Quarterback Riley Ferguson, who threw for over 300 yards for the fifth time this season, was the spark plug that led the Tigers offense. Ferguson has been terrific this season, as he leads the American conference in passing touchdowns (29) and passing yards (3,201). Memphis closes out the regular season with East Carolina before the American title game, which will pit the Tigers against the winner of UCF-USF this Saturday.” - Colton Spaur

17. Oklahoma State 

Previous Rank: 10

“The Cowboys had their slim playoff hopes crushed on Saturday, as the 19 ½ point underdog Kansas State Wildcats stunned Oklahoma State at home, 45-40. Oklahoma State trailed by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter, but the comeback came up just short as the offense needed one more score to complete the comeback. Mason Rudolph put up eye-popping stats once again, throwing for 425 yards and three touchdowns. However, Rudolph did throw two interceptions for the third time this season, all coming in the Cowboys’ three losses. Oklahoma State seems to go as Rudolph goes; when he starts turning the ball over, Oklahoma State’s chances of winning go down.” - Colton Spaur

16. Mississippi State 

Previous Rank: 19


“If it wasn’t for Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State wouldn’t be a top-25 team. Fitzgerald has proven himself as one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks again and again, and he added to his list of heroics when he secured a comeback win over Arkansas this past weekend. Fitzgerald wasn’t spectacular throwing the ball in this game, completing just 12 of 23 passes, but it’s not about quanity it’s about quality. And the quality of his final pass is what sealed the deal for the Bulldogs. Fitzgerald connected with Deddrick Thomas on a six-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds remaining, giving Mississippi State its fifth win in six games.” - Sean Berger

15. Washington 

Previous Rank: 16

“The Huskies scored 10 points in the final minute to overcome a late deficit on Saturday to squeak past Utah, 33-30. Jake Browning threw for his highest total of yards on the season, throwing for 354 yards and two scores to lead the Husky offense. Washington closes out the regular season with a chance to spoil in-state rival Washington State’s plans to reach the Pac-12 title game. The Huskies have won seven of the last eight in the rivalry, including the past four meetings.” - Colton Spaur

14. Washington State 

Previous Rank: 15

“Wazzu had the week off to prepare for, by far, its biggest game of the year. If the Cougars take down Washington in the Apple Cup, they will face USC in the Pac-12 championship for the chance to win their first conference championship since 2002. Outside of one disaster of a game against Cal, quarterback Luke Falk has thrown only five interceptions on the year. In order to beat Washington and its staunch defense, Washington State will need Falk at the top of his game. They’ll also need their defense, which ranks 15th in S&P+, to continue to thwart offenses. The Fighting Mike Leaches are fully capable of leaving Seattle with a win. Now they just have to pull it off on the big stage.” - Ryan Neu

13. UCF

Previous Rank: 14


UCF’s biggest game, the one that will decide the American East division, is this Friday against rival USF. Weird things happen in weekday games, so even though UCF boasts the country’s most prolific offense by a full 3.0 points per game and is undefeated to this point, don’t be surprised if Charlie Strong and USF steal the glory from UCF. The Knights have looked like the best Group of Five team all year long. Now they have to prove it in a big-time game with everything on the line.” - Ryan Neu

12. USC

Previous Rank: 13

“In the matchup of two of the nation’s top quarterback prospects, USC’s Sam Darnold came out on top over UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Rosen had far better numbers than Darnold, in fact, it was the third game in which Darnold failed to throw for a touchdown pass this season. However, it was Darnold’s tenacity and help from his receivers and running game that propeled the Trojans to victory in their final regular season contest. Darnold may have just played his final home game as apart of USC, but he still has a chance to lead the program to its first conference title since 2008, back when it was still the PAC-10.” - Sean Berger

11. Penn State 

Previous Rank: 11

“Saquon Barkley led the Nittany Lions to 42 points in the first half en route to a 56-44 win over conference foe Nebraska. The electrifying Barkley totaled 224 total yards and broke the school record for career touchdowns, reaching the end zone three times on the afternoon. Although their conference title hopes have been erased, Penn State can still reach a New Year’s Six bowl and close out quarterback Trace McSorley’s collegiate career on a high note.” - Colton Spaur

10. TCU

Previous Rank: 12

TCU’s defense got back on track during a 27-3 victory against Texas Tech and now only has to beat lowly Baylor to earn a berth to the newly resumed Big 12 championship game. That shouldn’t be an issue. The Horned Frogs have the talent to upset Oklahoma on a neutral field, particularly if Oklahoma’s defense doesn’t show up, which has a tendency to happen. TCU almost certainly is out of Playoff contention, but it can at least play the spoiler during the course of the next two weeks.” - Ryan Neu

9. Notre Dame 

Previous Rank: 9

“After getting dominated by Miami, Notre Dame rebounded by edging out Navy 24-17. Star running back Josh Adams got back on track by rushing for 106 yards, reaching the 100-yard mark for the first time since late October. Although the Fighting Irish’s playoff hopes are all but gone, they certainly can still reach a New Year’s Six bowl game. With a win this week against Bryce Love and the Stanford Cardinal, Notre Dame should be in the New Year’s Six. With a loss, on the other hand, the Fighting Irish will be looking at a lesser bowl and thinking about what could have been.” - Colton Spaur

8. Ohio State 

Previous Rank: 8


“Ohio State is really trying to make people forget about its awful loss to Iowa. A week after crushing Michigan State, 48-3, the Buckeyes blew out Illinois by a final score of 52-14. With an outside shot at still making the College Football Playoff, it seems like Urban Meyer’s strategy is to be an F-5 tornado and demolish everything in its path. It’s a bold strategy, but when style points matter in this day and age, it could pay off if the Buckeyes can continue the beat downs with Michigan looming this week and undefeated Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.” - Sean Berger

7. Georgia 

Previous Rank: 7

“The duo of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb at it again on Saturday, combining for 238 rushing yards and five scores on the day to help Georgia steamroll Kentucky, 42-13. However, in order for the Bulldogs to become a top-tier team they have to get the passing game going. As we saw in the Auburn game, if Georgia can’t run the ball then they are in trouble. Chubb and Michel were held to just 48 yards combined, and freshman quarterback Jake Fromm couldn’t carry the Georgia offense. In the SEC title game, they’ll get either Alabama or a rematch with Auburn, depending on the result of the Iron Bowl this Saturday.” - Colton Spaur

6. Wisconsin 

Previous Rank: 5

“This was Wisconsin’s second-consecutive win against a ranked-but-far-from-frightening opponent. In beating Michigan, the Badgers kept their undefeated season alive. Undefeated is likely the only way Wisconsin will receive a Playoff invitation due to their poor strength of schedule. Even the wins against Iowa and Michigan aren’t that impressive. Iowa’s win over Ohio State was clearly a fluke, as the Hawkeyes have now fallen to 3-5 in conference and 6-5 overall, and Michigan was playing with its third-string quarterback. The Badgers only chance for a truly impressive win all year will come in the Big Ten Championship against the Buckeyes.” - Ryan Neu

5. Auburn 

Previous Rank: 6


“At the beginning of this season, Alabama fans probably took a look at Auburn’s offense and laughed at those that said the Tigers could dethrone the Tide. Those same fans are probably like ‘Oh crap’ now. Auburn comes into the Iron Bowl with a chance to turn the SEC and College Football Playoff upside down. The Tigers have already beaten one No. 1 ranked team, why not do it again? Just imagine Nick Saban fuming on the sideline, knowing that a loss here could cost him a shot at the Playoff. One thing’s for sure, this is going to be one of the most watched games this weekend.” - Sean Berger

4. Miami 

Previous Rank: 3

“Miami survived against a scrappy Virginia team to keep its Playoff hopes intact and now has only an awful Pittsburgh team standing between it and an undefeated record heading into its first-ever ACC championship game. The Hurricanes fell behind 28-14 early in the third quarter but responded with 30 unanswered points to secure the victory. Next week will serve as a warmup for Clemson, and Miami should use it to correct some of its defensive issues from last week. The Hurricanes conceded 384 yards and four touchdowns through the air.” - Ryan Neu

3. Clemson

Previous Rank: 4

“Clemson stayed in the thick of the College Football Playoff race with a 61-3 annihilation of The Citadel. This week, the Tigers travel to Columbia for a contest against 8-3 South Carolina. Most people are looking ahead to the ACC title game against undefeated Miami, but don’t overlook the Gamecocks. South Carolina has won five of their past six games, with the lone loss coming in a hard-fought battle in Athens against Georgia. If Dabo Swinney’s squad can get past the Gamecocks, they’ll have a showdown with undefeated Miami in what will more than likely determine a playoff spot, with the loser being left out.” - Colton Spaur

2. Oklahoma 

Previous Rank: 2


“Baker Mayfield is one of the best college quarterbacks to grace this game in a while. His ability to create and extend plays is one of the best that most fans have ever seen. However, when the spotlight is on you, you’ve got to act like you’ve been there before. Mayfield’s lewd gesture against Kansas was inexcusable and unfortunate for this team. Mayfield has a competitive fire that burns so bright and brings out the best of his athletic ability, but he needs to control the emotions that come along with that fire. Maybe losing his captaincy will motivate him to be what a true Heisman contender should be.” - Sean Berger

1. Alabama 

Previous Rank: 1

“How does Alabama prepare for its biggest game of the season? Well it starts with blowing out an inferior FCS opponent the weekend before and ensuring that no ‘rat poison’ is blinding the team. The Iron Bowl is important on so many levels for Alabama, more so because it solidifies a berth in the SEC Championship and makes it that much more likely that the Tide will earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. This game features two great defenses and two offenses that have put up a combined 235 points over the last three games. Look for Nick Saban to pull out all the stops in this one as this isn’t just a game in his eyes.” - Sean Berger


Edited by Emily Greitzer, Vincent Choy.

SQuiz
Before starting the 2017 season 10-0, when was the last time the Miami Hurricanes started the season in similar fashion?
Created 11/22/17
  1. 2002
  2. 1999
  3. 1986
  4. 2013

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